Garbage Disposal is Leaking From The Bottom? (We Have a Fix)
What’s that smell in the kitchen? Oh, apparently the garbage disposal is leaking again. Every summer, some unfortunate households have to deal with one of the most disgusting things a homeowner must face: leaking garbage disposal.
if your garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom, it is most likely due to a broken flywheel seal or an internal seal wearing out over time. To replace a broken flywheel seal, you will need to remove the unit before installing the new one. Seafood shells, chemicals, and coffee can cause prolonged damage to your disposal.
On average, it could cost from $80-$450 to fix if your garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom.
Why Is Your Garbage Disposal Leaking From The Bottom
First thing first, you should always know the reason why your garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom.
The most possible reason is that you have a busted seal inside the disposal. These seals were meant to prevent any leakage coming out the bottom of the system, and if one of those breaks, you could imagine the consequences. On average, a garbage disposal should last you 5 to 10 years.
Wear & Tear
If you haven’t inspected your garbage disposal for a while, or simply own an aged system, then the inside seals are most likely suffering severe wear and tears.
All things die at some point. Your seal may just have reached the end of its lifespan.
If your garbage disposal is new but starts to leak from the bottom, you may want to call for an inspection. Like all products, garbage disposals can vary in quality as well. As long as you are under warranty (which you should), an overall inspection can catch other unnoticed issues at an early stage.
Let’s be honest: at some point in our life, we all thought the garbage disposal to be the amazing blackhole that could devour whatever we want to get rid of. We’ve all poured things that probably should not have gone in there down the drain.
If your inspection didn’t find any quality issues with your disposal, then you may want to take a look at what you’ve put down.
This is important because it not only extends the lifespan of the inner seals of your garbage disposal, in the long run, it also helps maintain your drainage and plumbing system in general.
Don’t Wait On Fixing
We agree that there are certain things in your home that can wait. A loose cabinet door doesn’t need to get fixed right away. A failing water heater… Well, if it’s in the summertime, you may be able to procrastinate for a month or so, although we do not recommend it at all.
However, garbage disposal is one of the few things that needs to stay on top of your priority list 100%.
Damage Caused by a Leaking Garbage Disposal
You don’t want what’s in the disposal out – simple as that. A garbage disposal leaking from the bottom could quickly lead to severe water damage over the kitchen cabinet and eventually your kitchen floor.
The leak is also a decomposing contaminant that could lead to black mold, an infestation of insects such as gnats and fruit flies, as well as other health issues.
How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Garbage Disposal Leaking From The Bottom
Generally speaking, because the reason for a bottom leak is usually a broken inner seal, there aren’t many ways around the problem except to completely replace the garbage disposal.
The cost of fixing the bottom leakage on a garbage disposal is displayed in the following table:
Cost to fix a garbage disposal leaking from the bottom (2020 numbers)
Cost of Labor
You may have guessed: the biggest difference in the cost of fixing a leaking garbage disposal lies in labor cost.
A professional plumber charges at least $80/hr. This number is pretty much the certificate of their capability. Anybody charging you lower than that amount should make you think twice.
If you decide to go with a company instead of an individual contractor, you are most likely to be looking at higher costs. But there are reasons behind-the-scenes that will justify this investment.
Working With a Plumbing Company
Yes, this is the costliest option when it comes to fixing or replacing your garbage disposal. However, working with a company instead of an individual brings you actual layers of benefits and protections.
For example, most plumbing companies will provide some type of warranty that covers you for a good period of time after the initial installation/fixup. If anything were to go wrong, you can guarantee that you are well-covered and probably wouldn’t need to pay anything further out of your own pocket.
Working With an Individual Contractor
Working with an individual contractor to replace your garbage disposal is the medium option when it comes to cost. Individuals are not as pricey compared to larger companies. However, you also don’t get the same amount of guarantee when it comes to after-services.
If you know of a good handyman you’ve hired before, that person may be the best one for you to reach out to instead of getting a number off the light-pole around the corner of your block, or accepting a fixup offer off the street.
Replacing a garbage disposal alone is not that difficult. If you are fairly familiar with the basics of plumbing, you can definitely handle the task yourself with the help of Google and Youtube.
The better question to ask yourself is: do you really want to go through all that yucky fluid and remaining garbage just to save the labor cost? Does the time needed to replace the disposal, and to clean up afterwards, plus the torment of dealing with food waste really worth it?
Those are things you should think about.
Cost of Garbage Disposals
The other piece affecting the overall replacement cost is the cost of the actual disposal, and that is usually decided by what type of disposal you are buying.
In general, there are two types of garbage disposals, and each has its higher and lower price ranges, naturally.
Cost of Garbage Disposals
|Continuous garbage disposal||$80||$200|
|Batch feed garbage disposal||$100||$350|
Continuous Garbage Disposal
This type of garbage disposal is very easy to operate and is most common in residential properties. All you need to do is keep the water running and turn on the switch, and the machinery will take care of the rest.
But remember: continuous garbage disposal can be easily damaged by metal debris that may get caught in the disposal.
Batch Feed Garbage Disposal
This type of garbage disposal is a lot safer than the continuous feed ones since it’s activated by putting a stopper in the sink drain.
You don’t have to worry about getting your hair caught in the blades, or having other things flushed down by water and end up damaging the disposal mechanism.
However, this is less recommended if you have a large household that produces larger amounts of food waste.
Replace a Garbage Disposal Yourself
If you do decide to go with the do-it-yourself route to fix a garbage disposal that’s leaking from the bottom, you will need a few basic tools.
This typically includes:
- Socket set
- The proper types of screwdrivers
- Wrench/Hex Wrench
- Pliers/Slit-Joint Pliers
You may also need a hacksaw at some point, as well as plumber’s putty. Naturally, any missing pieces will incur extra cost on this fix-up project. But in general, these are good tools to have around your house.
Step 1: Read Your Instructions
Make sure you read the instructions that come with your new disposal. That will show you what each piece inside the box is for, and where each should go.
Even if you’ve done this before, it is still recommended to read through the instructions since things can change according to models and manufacturers.
Step 2: Remove The Knockout (If you have a dishwasher)
One of the most common mistakes in replacing your own garbage disposal is forgetting to take out the dishwasher knockout first!
Luckily, the knockout can be easily punched out using a hammer and a screwdriver, then all you need to do is to remove it from the disposal. You can also add in the cord and plug at this step to make things easier later on.
Step 3: Assemble & Install
Make sure to create a well-supported workspace so you can safely assemble your disposal, especially since a garbage disposal could easily weigh over 15lbs.
If you’ve properly completed Step 1, the assembling should not cause you any trouble. Make sure you put in the cord and plug if you didn’t do that in the previous step.
Step 4: Discharge Tube & Finishing Up
This is the step which many amateur home-improvers find most challenging. In general, the discharge tube for the disposal needs to have a ¼” slant pointing downhill to ensure efficient drainage.
Once you get that right, everything else will fall into place naturally. Then all is left is to properly seal, stabilize and tighten the new disposal.
Preventing Future Leaks
Whether you fixed the leak or had to replace the entire garbage disposal, there are a number of things you can do to help prevent future leaks. The key to reducing the risk of a garbage disposal leak from returning is proper use of the unit. For example, make sure that you only grind up soft foods. Avoid placing raw potatoes, bones, corn kernels, and apple cores into the disposal as they can dislodge and cause damage to the seals inside.
Before and after each use of the garbage disposal, run cold water through the drain. This will help to keep solid fats from thickening into gunk, which will weaken the sink flange and result in leaks. You should also inspect your unit for leaks at least twice a year. That way, you can catch and repair them before they lead to more serious damage to the surrounding cabinets and flooring.
Sum It Up
If your garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom, that means it’s time to get a new one installed, because a bottom leak suggests that the inner seal of your garbage disposal has been compromised.
In general, replacing the garbage disposal can cost you from $80 to $450 depending on what type of disposal you have, and how you are going to get the project done. On average, people spend around $250 to replace their garbage disposal.
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